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How can I spend more time around dogs?
June 7, 2014 9:34 PM   Subscribe

I enjoy dogs but am very busy. Where can I go spend a few hours with dogs? I think it may improve my mood.

I have been depressed/anxiety for a long time, like almost 2 months. I enjoy spending time with dogs, but know do to my own limitations time/busy schedule I would not be able to take care of one. How can I spend therapeutic time around dogs to test and see if they will help with my depression/anxiety?
posted by Jewel98 to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Volunteer at a shelter to walk dogs, play with puppies, etc.?
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:38 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Take a book and just sit and read at your local dog park. I'm pretty sure people without dogs isn't weird like adults without kids is at a children's playground.
posted by colin_l at 10:03 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah I volunteer at a humane society on occasion and I just sit there and pet dogs for a few hours.
posted by MillMan at 10:09 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Animal shelters definitely need volunteers to walk dogs and socialize them.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:10 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


If you don't want to commit to a regular volunteer position, you can call and ask your local shelter whether you could be a substitute volunteer. You would likely have to go through the volunteer orientation and background checks (or whatever is required by your local shelter) but then you'd be in a good position: you could hang out with dogs periodically and also relieve another volunteer when they can't make it for a shift. This might be a win-win for you and the shelter.
posted by gursky at 10:19 PM on June 7


Do you know people with dogs? High energy dogs like pointers or huskys? I cry tears of joy whenever someone asks to take my dog somewhere. If someone wanted to walk her regularly I'd give them a map to all the local dog parks and dog friendly trails, pockets full of treats, buy them gas and donate a kidney if they needed it.
posted by fshgrl at 10:46 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


See if one of your local shelters has some kind of program where people can "check out" dogs for things like exercise. One of the ones by me works with the local runners so you take a quick class for them to make sure you can deal with a dog and they can size you up, then you can just walk in and "check out" a dog to take running.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:57 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Take a book and just sit and read at your local dog park. I'm pretty sure people without dogs isn't weird like adults without kids is at a children's playground.

It is weird and you will likely be asked to leave (this is the policy at every dog run I've been to). The dogs are there to play with other dogs not to interact with humans.

Nthing volunteering at a shelter. Volunteering with animal adoptions is also another good option (sign up for the Best Friends newsletter relevant to your area). Also advertise to your friends that you can (possibly) watch their pups for a weekend here or there.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:08 AM on June 8


Be aware there can be minimum volunteer hours at a shelter so if you have a variable schedule it may not be the best. The other issue at my local shelter was all volunteers started with cats and you had to do x hours before you could do dogs.
posted by Aranquis at 9:17 AM on June 8


I've volunteered at shelters in a couple states. It's really wonderful, and it's exactly how I got my "animal interaction" fix before I could adopt my own -- I would recommend it. The time commitment, in my experience, is usually up front -- you usually have to go to an interview, an orientation, and then at least one training class (usually, they host a basic training class for each kind of animal, and then you might have other training classes if you want to take on further duties).

I preferred making a set commitment to get on the schedule, and I'd recommend that for you, too, because then you're sure to go. However, since there's always work to do, in my experience the shelter is pretty understanding about how much of a time commitment you're able to make as long as you get all the necessary training and don't flake out on the times or duties you do agree to. If you can just do the big adoption fairs, for example, that's likely OK.

Before you decide on which organization you want to volunteer with, though, make sure you go through their websites and maybe even visit the branch where you'd be volunteering, to make sure they have a philosophy you agree with and that you can feel comfortable there. There's a ton of variation in how organizations function based on locality, so do your research first.
posted by rue72 at 9:46 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Take a book and just sit and read at your local dog park. I'm pretty sure people without dogs isn't weird like adults without kids is at a children's playground.

It is weird and you will likely be asked to leave (this is the policy at every dog run I've been to).


While I've never brought a book and sat and read, I've been to several dog parks without a dog and never been asked to leave.

Just go, and sit and dogs will come to you, and neither the humans nor the dogs will judge you. If you feel that you need an excuse, tell them your apartment won't allow pets.
posted by euphorb at 12:23 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


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